This is the ninth installment The “Full 80” prep boys soccer blog for the spring of 2014. Here’s a look at Kennedy’s youth movement, marquee matches and final state rankings.
Promotion of freshmen from JV keys improved play for JFK
Coach Teddy Mitalas made a difficult decision and now it’s paying off for the Kennedy Catholic High School boys soccer team this spring.
In with the young was Mitalas’ philosophy after some early-season struggles. Now, the Lancers are unbeaten at 13-0-4 in 17 matches since his lineup changes.
Kennedy (13-1-5), ranked No. 10 in Class 3A, rides into the 3A state tournament with a ton of momentum and some youthful exuberance on its side. The Lancers host Mount Si (13-5-2) on Wednesday at 7 p.m. at Highline Stadium in pursuit of a state title.
“After watching our first couple of games and then watching our JV [junior varsity] play, I decided to bring up some freshmen and it made a huge change for us at Kennedy,” Mitalas said. “We have four freshmen that we brought up that literally changed the team in the middle of the season. And, they’ve been starters ever since.
“We also had some injuries to some guys, so I decided to bring some guys up.”
Three key freshman were called up from junior varsity and inserted into the starting lineup after the fourth match of the season and that move injected life into the Lancers.
It was a changing of the midfield when Mitalas brought in Aron Rosel, Abimael Luna and Jesus Garcia early in the season when JFK was 2-1-1. Freshman Cole Carden, Alex Harms, Francisco Mercado and Aviyan Medina rounded out the freshman movement.
Garcia took over at center midfielder with Rosel (2 goals, 1 assist) and Luna (1 goal) outside on opposite wings. JFK suddenly was more of an offensive squad with more speed and outside runs and passes from the wings.
“We wanted to see what they could do, and they’ve done the job ever since,” said Mitalas, who is in his sixth year as head coach of the JFK boys. “These freshman they’ve got great skill, they love playing, they fight hard and they pretty much play the whole game.
“I’ve always said that if a freshman is just as good as a senior, I’ll still put the freshman in to get used to things the next [three] years.”
Mitalas is still relying on his experienced seniors while mixing in talented youth. The team hasn’t lost since the nonleague season-opener against Shorecrest, a 3-0 defeat on March 17.
The Lancers leading scorers are senior midfielder Colin Gilies (9 goals, 11 assists) and senior forwards Colin Cossette (9 goals, 3 assists) and Kyle Peterson (6 goals). All three have had their playing time affected by injuries and the elevation of talent freshman.
“The injuries were part the changes that we made,” Mitalas said. “I had to move some people around to see if I could get some of these freshmen in. Those seniors still play a lot, too. I move those three guys around up top [at forward].
“We’re looking pretty good, other than losing [senior goalkeeper] Leyton [Thommasen]. I think we’re going to be all right for the next couple of years. I was quite impressed with the freshmen this year.”
After all of Mitalas’ roster moves, the Lancers featured a varsity with nine underclassmen, including three sophomores.
“Rosel and Luna are the ones who have really impressed me,” Mitalas said. “These guys have speed and can beat people down the wings and get the ball crossed in. That’s what they both do a lot of times.”
Last year’s center midfielder Jake Degagne, a senior captain, moved to right back on defense this season. The rest of the defense returns from last year’s team – juniors Simon Thomas and Sawyer Ramsey and sophomore Griffin Mathews.
Also back manning the goalkeeper position is Thommasen, an All-Seamount League first team selection, who has posted 10 shutouts this season.
“He’s a lot of better than last year, and he has the same back line with him essentially,” Mitalas said. “It helps having a good goalkeeper.”
Mixing in young players has worked.
“Seniors should be leaders,” Mitalas said. “I talked to the captains about [making changes to play freshmen] and they didn’t have a problem with it. This team this year is a team.
“It’s an interesting team. Everybody talks to each other. Nobody complains at each other. The seniors listen to the freshman and the freshman listen to the seniors.”
The Lancers, who have reached state eight of the last 10 seasons, need to change their recent state luck. They have lost their first-round match in the last three trips in 2010, 2011 and 2013.
“I just think this year might be different, with the momentum and the way they’ve been playing and how organized they are,” said Mitalas, who hopes his squad can make a run to add to 3A state titles in 1997 and 2000 and runner-up finishes in 1987 and 2008. “We are going to be a team to be reckoned with this year. Some of these guys have played together for three years and they’ve got the concept down that I want to see.”
The last state win for the JFK program came in 2008 when the Lancers beat Mercer Island 3-2 in overtime shootout in the state semifinals before falling 5-0 to Camas in the championship.
They hope to finish the job in 2014.
Ingraham draws defending 3A state champion Bonney Lake in first round
The first trip to state in school history doesn’t begin easily for the Ingraham boys soccer team.
The Rams (10-4-4) drew a road match at top-ranked Bonney Lake (14-2-1) to open the Class 3A state tournament on Tuesday at 6 p.m. in Sumner’s Sunset Chev Stadium.
After Ingraham’s hard-fought 2-1 loss to Lakeside in the Metro League championship match on Friday, the team remains proud and confident.
“To give up belief today would’ve been insane,” said Rams coach Paul Aur, whose team forced overtime shootout with a last-second goal in a 3-2 Metro quarterfinal win over Seattle Prep on Wednesday. “These guys have already proved me wrong against Prep.
“Nothing was impossible. They showed they believe all the way to the very end.”
The Rams kept attacking against Lakeside, reinforcing a never-quit attitude that has served them well this season.
“I was really impressed [with Ingraham] and they pushed and pushed and pushed,” said Lakeside coach Mark Szabo, whose team rested starting center midfielder Wyatt Paul for the first round of state. “They honestly had us on our heels the entire second half. We were worried going into the second half.”
Lakeside (12-2-2), the Metro League champion, hosts Marysville-Pilchuck (10-9-0) on Tuesday at 5 p.m. at Ingraham High School in its state opener.
The Lions are now 9-1-2 in their last 12 matches, but it took effort to the final whistle.
Lakeside beat Bainbridge 1-0 in last season’s Metro championship after topping the Spartans 2-1 in the 2012 league title contest. The Lions fell 1-0 in the 2011 league championship match.
Ingraham came into the Metro title match on a five-match winning streak and was 7-1-1 in its last nine outings. They tested Lakeside big-time in the second half.
The Rams’ Leonzo-Perez had a good scoring chance in the 37th minute, but his header above the crowd was saved by Lapsley.
In the 14th minute, Dylan Harris’ header was saved by Lapsley.
Lakeside put pressure on Ingraham in the first half, outshooting the Rams 11-4. Ingraham outshot the Lions 6-4 in the second half.
“We are a team that’s got a ton of fighting spirit,” Ingraham midfielder Duncan Greeley said. “When you are putting that pressure on a team and you start getting that confidence, it doesn’t matter if that team is Lakeside or Barcelona.
“These guys are playing hard. We tough our bumps earlier in the season. We were fighting tonight and love this team right now.”
State action on the horizon
With regular-season play concluded last week and district and bi-district tournaments finishing over the weekend, state play is close to starting. The spring state tournaments begin with first-round matches in Class 1A, 2A, 3A and 4A on May 20-21.
The state tournaments for all classifications playing boys soccer in the spring take place May 30-31.
The Class 1A and 2A Final Fours will be played at Sunset Chev Stadium in Sumner and the 3A and 4A Finals Fours are scheduled at Sparks Stadium in Puyallup.
Boys soccer playoff link
(League and district tournaments)
State brackets (upcoming)
Main bracket page for district (results)
ScoreCzar.org gives its unique twist on rankings
Here’s the link to the latest 2014 ranking for boys soccer by ww.scoreczar.org:
Marquee matches upcoming
Tuesday, May 20
3A: Mountain View (Vancouver) (14-4-0) at Mercer Island (9-4-5), time TBA
3A: Ingraham (10-4-4) at No. 1 Bonney Lake (14-2-1) (defending 3A state champ) at Sunset Chev Stadium (Sumner), 6 p.m.
4A: Garfield (8-6-2) at No. 6 Kentwood (13-2-3) at French Field, 7 p.m.
4A: No. 8 Gig Harbor (13-3-1) at No. 3 Issaquah (12-1-1), 7 p.m.
1A: Columbia (White Salmon) at University Prep at Interlake HS, 5 p.m.; Seton Catholic at Bellevue Christian at Interlake HS, 7 p.m.
Wednesday, May 21
3A: Mount Si (13-5-2) at No. 9 Kennedy Catholic (13-1-5) at Highline Stadium, 7 p.m.
4A: Rogers (Puyallup) (11-2-4) at No. 5 Snohomish (16-2-0) at Snohomish Memorial Stadium, 6 p.m.
Thursday, May 22, Friday, May 23 & Saturday, May 24
Class 4A, 3A, 2A, 1A: State quarterfinals at home sites.
National rankings picture
The fourth set of spring boys soccer rankings from National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) will come out on Tuesday, May 20. The next set of rankings is due Tuesday, June 17 and that will be the final set of the spring. Three teams from Washington state were ranked in the top 20 were in the third set of rankings for the spring of 2014. Class 4A Camas checks in at No. 8, Skyview of Vancouver at No. 11 and Skyline at No. 20.
The NSCAA regional poll was filled with all Washington teams, from No. 1 through No. 9, and only Alaska breaking up the top 10 from Washington. Here’s the third Region V poll for spring of 2014 (also pasted below) on Tuesday, April 22:
FINAL 2014 SEATTLE TIMES STATE BOYS SOCCER RANKINGS
Here are The Seattle Times FINAL rankings for Class 4A, 3A and 2A for the 2014 season (this year’s record in parentheses):
FINAL rankings – 4A, 3A, 2A
Class 4A, 3A & 2A boys soccer state rankings – before Week 8 (May 12)– FINAL
(2014 records in parentheses; prior to district/bi-district playoffs)
1, Skyview (Vancouver) (14-0-3)
2, Camas (13-1-3)
3, Issaquah (12-1-1)
4, Skyline (12-1-3)
5, Snohomish (14-2-0)
6, Kentwood (11-2-3)
7, Ferris (Spokane) (13-2-0)
8, Gig Harbor (13-1-1)
9, Union (Vancouver) (12-4-1)
10, Federal Way (11-3-2)
On the bubble: Rogers (Puyallup) (10-2-4), Jefferson (11-4-1), Inglemoor (8-6-1), Lewis & Clark (Spokane) (10-5-0), Central Valley (Spokane) (12-2-0), Puyallup (12-3-1), Kentridge (7-4-5), Kamiak (10-4-2), Mount Vernon (10-7-0), Pasco (12-5-0), Beamer (9-5-2), Lake Stevens (8-6-3), Curtis (9-3-4), Mariner (8-6-2), Mount Rainier (8-3-5), Tahoma (10-2-3), Olympia (8-4-2), Redmond (9-6-1), Roosevelt (9-6-1), Woodinville (9-6-2), Cascade (Everett) (9-6-2), Davis (Yakima) (10-5-1).
1, Bonney Lake (14-1-1)
2, Mount Spokane (11-2-0)
3, Glacier Peak (13-2-2)
4, Sunnyside (14-2-0)
5, Hanford (13-3-0)
6, Liberty (Issaquah) (13-2-2)
7, Lakeside (10-2-2)
8, Shorecrest (14-3-0)
9, Kennedy Catholic (10-1-5)
10, Bainbridge (12-3-0)
On the bubble: Mountain View (Vancouver) (12-4-0), Mount Si (10-5-2), Kennewick (11-5-0), Shelton (9-2-3), Mercer Island (8-4-5) , Shorewood (10-3-4), Interlake (10-6-1), Hazen (9-2-5), Auburn Mountainview (9-3-1), Nathan Hale (8-3-3), Ingraham (9-3-4), Chief Sealth (9-6-2), Bishop Blanchet (7-6-4), Decatur (8-5-0), Wilson (Tacoma) (9-5-0), Foss (8-1-2), Columbia River (8-5-3), Meadowdale (9-6-2).
1, Cheney (13-1-1)
2, Squalicum (15-0-2)
3, Capital (16-1-0)
4, Anacortes (13-2-2)
5, Fife (12-2-0)
6, Archbishop Murphy (13-3-1)
7, Sedro-Woolley (12-2-3)
8, North Kitsap (14-2-0)
9, Kingston (14-2-0)
10, Pullman (13-3-0)
On the bubble: Othello (13-4-0), Ridgefield (9-3-1), Hockinson (12-4-0), Aberdeen (10-5-0), Bellingham (8-4-4), Orting (11-3-1), Cedarcrest (12-4-1), Sequim (13-3-0), Franklin Pierce (5-6-1), Foster (10-2-3), Toppenish (10-5-1), Ellensburg (10-7-0), Sehome (10-3-4), Sumner (9-6-0), Grandview (10-5-0), Tyee (7-5-4), Selah (9-8-0).